If a professional identifies a need for early help, they have a responsibility to share that information and work together with other agencies to provide children with the support they need. Indeed, effective early help relies upon local agencies working together to:
- identify children and families who would benefit from early help
- assess the need for early help, and
- provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a child and their family in order to improve outcomes for the child.
emergency protection order
An Emergency Protection Order (EPO) can be requested from the court by local authority children's services if they believe that a child is in immediate danger or at risk of significant harm. The police and the NSPCC may also apply for an EPO.
An EPO is put in place by the local authority for a short period of time if they believe it will safeguard the child. If an EPO is granted by the Court, children's services then have some degree of parental responsibility for the child, such as the right to take the child into their care; the right to prevent the child from returning to the care of the parent(s); the right to see the child, even if the parent(s) refuses to cooperate; and the right to prevent the person whom they believe to be a significant risk to the child from living in the same household or seeing them.
The local authority must initiate a Section 47 Enquiry when a child has been made the subject of an EPO.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent effects on the child's emotional development, and may involve:
- conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person
- imposing age or developmentally inappropriate expectations on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child's developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction
- seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another e.g. where there is domestic violence and abuse
- serious bullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger;
- exploiting and corrupting children.
Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.